Why buy a custom cue over a national brand?

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A custom made suit fits better, wears better and looks better than a suit size off the rack altered to fit you.
A custom made gun is generally superior to brand name guns in terms of durability, accuracy & appearance.

A custom made pair of shoes fit better, are more comfortable & just look better than ones out of a shoe box.
A custom made cue customarily fits the playing preferences of a player much better than one from a catalog.

If you are worried about the price, you probably can’t afford it…….J.P. Morgan was right. I didn’t bother trying
to find a Joel Hercek cue until I knew I could pay the going rate. Sadly, I was never able to locate the right one.
 

HawaiianEye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Did Willie miss on 527 or stop after 526? I always thought he just decided to stop after 526.
He missed.

“Willie's Game, an Autobiography" by Willie Mosconi & Stanley Cohen, copyright 1963, Macmillan Publishing Company, Page 167, 2nd paragraph.

"On March 19, in Springfield , Ohio, I ran 526 balls, a record that still stands. I was playing a two-hundred point match against an amateur by the name of Earl Bruney in the East High Billiard Club. He made three balls off the break, then I ran two-hundred and just kept going. The run took two hours and ten minutes which menas that over tha span I averaged four balls a minute. I finally missed a difficult cut shot, but by that time I was weary; it was almost a relief to have it come to an end. There were about three hundred people in the audience and one of them was an attorney who prepared an affadavit of my claim to a new record. A few days later the BCA gave it its stamp of approval."
 

3kushn

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Maybe this has been said (didn't read all posts) There's absolutely no reason to buy a custom cue unless you know exactly what you want.

Unless you know what you want, no builder can satisfy your need.

The path..... if you don't know what you want is ...
Buy from this builder..... then that Builder.... then the other..

What have you solved on this journey?
 

lakeman77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I can think of many custom cues that are far prettier than national brands. Are they made better, play better?
Seems to me, the gap vanished 10 years ago.
 
A bunch of others have already mentioned the answer. The complete control over materials, weight, length, design, etc. Everything is exactly the way you want it.

Here is something people may not consider though. How many custom cue makers are supporting the community? Which ones sponsor tournaments? Which ones get new players interested in playing?
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Having bought and sold numerous cues over the last 15 years, what I have come to realize is old production cues do not play like new production cues. The quality of wood from even 30 years ago is difficult to find now.
This. The two McDermotts I have from the mid 90s (almost 30 years ago, feel old now? I do!) have amazing shaft wood. Part of the reason I bought a McDermott back then with the money from my first job was the literature of how long and the precision with how they aged wood. Both shafts are straight, with tight grain and the little half moons go laser straight the entire length of the shaft. They knew their stuff. After 25+ years still straight and hit a ton. In the first decade of owning my cue I kept it in the trunk of my car year round. Iowa winters and humid ass summers. I don't recommend it, nor do I do it now, but these cues are survivors, not pampered at all.

About a year ago I bought a Hsunami Kielwood shaft (good shaft but I sold it, the McDermott was superior in my hands). The Hsunami was/is dead straight but the wood, like most modern cues did not display tight laser straight "figure less" grain nor straight half moons from joint to tip. It had a slight twist in the moons. No problems with it, but modern shaft wood, even when selective, doesn't necessarily mean better than production cues of 25+ years ago.

EDIT: Realized I messed up, one McDermott shaft doesn't have the half moons as it's curly maple, still dead straight though.
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am genuinely curious what the advantage is. I confess I have never owned or played with an individually made custom cue by a reputable individual maker.

Just to use Viking and McDermott as examples, I can choose the shaft taper, shaft material, diameter, length, and tip. On the butt, I can choose from many different inlay designs, and can specify stain, inlay material, and color, wrap or wrapless, and if wrapped, I can choose many styles of linen, or leather, or stamped leather, or even an exotic material in the color of my choice. I can choose what type of joint I want between the butt and the shaft. I can choose the weight, the butt cap color, and even have my name scripted on the butt if I so choose. For a national brand with a solid warranty, that seems like a LOT of customization to me, and at what appears to be a fraction of the cost of a cue made by an individual maker.

This question came from my recent experience with my favorite cue. I own a Meucci 97-11, a McDermott, a Lucasi, and a Viking F50. All of these are medium to high end for the respective maker. My viking F50 is my go to, personal favorite cue. I have enjoyed it for about 17 years. Recently one of the two shafts seemed to be warped a little. I called Viking and they took it in for repair under their Lifetime Warranty at no charge, and even paid the shipping back to me. I realize that companies come and go, and even Viking went silent for a little while and made a comeback, but if a custom cue maker retires or is no longer able to repair a cue, it just seems buying from a national brand that has a lifetime warranty backed by a company that may remain for many decades makes more sense.

Custom cues can certainly be more personal I suppose. They MAY be more carefully made. I totally want to support small business whenever I can. Still, a custom cue is significantly more expensive, may be difficult or in some cases, impossible to get warranty repair for, and the major American made brands offer a tremendous amount of customization in building a cue just the way you like it.

Other than collectability, what, if any, is the advantage? I can't imagine that a custom made cue could actually change the game for a player to a large extent. Certainly not as much as lessons and practice.

What are the thoughts of those here who have played quite a bit with both?
I've said for years that if I could find a production cue that played as well as any of the customs I've owned, I'd buy it and play with it. Still playing with customs since the mid-late '70s.
 

MmmSharp

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I prefer a natural weight and full splice cue with a forward balance. I not a huge fan of bling. I have a few customs made from blanks. My sugartree was cheaper than any predator available. I was lucky to get Eric's time. Probably the best hitting cue i own. My tasc is more than 4x the cost but i prefer the hit of my sugar tree.

You can get simple customs for the same or less than production cues if you shop around. I often hear custom are more expensive. That is not the case. You just have to be willing to wait.
 

chenjy9

Active member
I prefer a natural weight and full splice cue with a forward balance. I not a huge fan of bling. I have a few customs made from blanks. My sugartree was cheaper than any predator available. I was lucky to get Eric's time. Probably the best hitting cue i own. My tasc is more than 4x the cost but i prefer the hit of my sugar tree.

You can get simple customs for the same or less than production cues if you shop around. I often hear custom are more expensive. That is not the case. You just have to be willing to wait.

Customs can and often are more expensive. Most custom Merry Widows go for $600-700, more if exotic wood types are used. You can easily get a Merry Widow from a production cue maker for a bit over half that.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
It's nice knowing that when I walk into a tournament, poolhall, etc that nobody else has the identical cue. Mine is unique, I got to help design it. Have a friend who was extremely proud of the high dollar production cue he bought. And it's a beautiful cue. He was proud because nobody in our area had that same cue. We went to a tournament and there was 5 or 6 shooters with the same exact cue. I'll never have to feel how he did when that happened
Same reason I went overseas to find a wife instead of the local market.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am genuinely curious what the advantage is. I confess I have never owned or played with an individually made custom cue by a reputable individual maker.

--- snip ---

If you played with 20-30 cues and shafts and found one you liked, it does not matter who made it. If you played with like 5, then there is a lot more trial and experience needed to select what you are comfortable with.

Most of the "value" or owning one is personal satisfaction, same as with anything you buy that covers more than the basic needs. Lexus over Toyota, Bently over BMW, Mont Blanc over BIC, etc...

There have been many many threads about cue value vs how well a person plays with it, there is no relation to the two. Once you get to a certain minimum build quality the rest if personal preference. You of course don't want rattles or loose parts or finish peeling or shoddy inlays, but many production brands are perfectly good with that side of quality. Now if you want to have a specific design, balance, length, hit feel or wood selection or just the idea of having something that was made for you by a guy, like say a custom made shoe, then there are those advantages.
 
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